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Gutsy Brumbies edge past Bulls at Loftus

Cape Town – The Brumbies claimed a 38-28 come-from-behind victory over
the Bulls with fourteen men at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday. 

Tries from Kyle Godwin, Lachlan McCaffrey, Folau Fainga’a,
Tom Banks and Andrew Muirhead proved too much for the Bulls who scored through
Handre Pollard, Johnny Kotze and Roelof Smit

Try-scorer Fainga’a got sent off in the 60th minute which
looked to sway the momentum in favour of the Bulls, but instead it galvanised
the Brumbies, who sparked in to life, scoring two excellent tries in this
period to complete a remarkable turnaround. 

The Bulls opened the scoring in the fourth minute. After
Jonny Kotze had made good ground down the left flank, the ball was recycled to
Springbok flyhalf Pollard who got on the outside of Brumbies prop Scott Sio to
break clean through the defence and dot down. 

But the Brumbies bounced straight back from the restart. The
Bulls spilt the ball from the Brumbies’ kick-off, with the Brumbies pouncing on
the loose ball and making the Bulls pay with Godwin turning on the
after-burners and sprinting all the way over the line. 

Brumbies fly-half Christian Lealiifano gave the visitors the
lead for the first time in the match with a penalty after Bulls lock RG Snyman
was penalised for taking out the scrum-half off the ball. 

Soon after, the Bulls wrested back the lead when flanker
Smit ran a superb angle off to power his way over after Kotze had done well to
get the Bulls deep in to Brumbies’ territory. Pollard’s conversion made it a
14-10 lead to the Bulls with 20 minutes gone. 

The Bulls completely dominated the last quarter of the first
half but were denied by some heroic Brumbies’ defending, with the Canberra
outfit having to halt maul after maul as the Brumbies went in to the interval
only trailing by four. 

Three minutes after half-time, the Brumbies were in the
lead. Joe Powell made a sniping dart off the back of the scrum, excellently
spotting the open space and scything through the Bulls defence before getting
the offload away for McCaffrey to finish. 

But the Bulls hit back to take the restore the lead once
again. Warrick Gelant created it, with his weaving run and pass setting Kotze
clear down the left-hand touchline for his sixth try of the season. Pollard
stretched the difference to eight points with a penalty after the Brumbies were
penalised for tackling a player in the air. 

Soon after, the Brumbies responded when Fainga’a burst over
from close range following a series of powerful carries from the Brumbies
forwards after the driving maul had got the Australian outfit close.
Lealiifano’s conversion reduced the deficit to just a single point with a
quarter of the match to go. 

Having just scored a try, Fainga’a turned from hero to
villain when he was red-carded for headbutting debutant replacement Matthys
Basson. Pollard slotted the resulting penalty between the uprights to make it
28-24 to the home side. 

Despite going down to 14 men, Banks scored a magnificent
individual try beating several defenders for pace including Boks Jesse Kriel
and Warrick Gelant in a scintillating run on his way to the try-line to cap a
superb individual performance. Replacement flyhalf Wharenui Hawera added the
extras for a 31-28 lead. 

The remarkable comeback was complete when winger Muirhead
went over in the left-hand corner with plenty of space on the overlap to spare.
John Mitchell would have been livid with his troops to have thrown a 28-24 lead
away with an extra man. 

Hawera’s conversion secured a 38-28 victory for the visitors
in the end. 

Scorers:

Bulls

Tries: Pollard, Kotze, Smit

Conversions: Pollard 2

Penalties: Pollard 3 

Brumbies

Tries: Godwin, McCaffrey, Fainga’a, Banks

Conversions: Lealiifano 3

Penalty: Lealiifano

Red Card: Fainga’a

Teams:

Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Odendaal, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Nic de Jager, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Matthys Basson, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Andrew Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Nick Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Andrew Smith

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